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An Introduction to Madolenihmw

Madolenihmw at sunset, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Boys roll tires for a game, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Takain Pahsu, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Madolenihmw (pronounced mä.tō.lĕn.eem) is the largest of Pohnpei’s five chiefdoms and was the first to be established in the late 1600s by Isokelekel, conqueror of the Saudeleurs and Pohnpei’s first Nahnmwarki (paramount chief). It originally included the areas that now comprise U. The name means “spaces separating the houses” and refers to the district’s history of disunity and its many conflicts and power struggles.

During the 1830s, Madolenihmw’s natural harbors became popular ports-of-call for American and English whaleships, working the Pacific, and its wide lands a haven for morally-challenged Westerners who caused all sorts of havoc and participated in more than one violent engagement. The most high-profile event centered around the visiting whaleship, Lambton, and developed into a full-blown war between the Nahnmwarki and the Wasai, a rival chief, who was supported by the whalers. The fight ended with the murder of both the Nahnmwarki and his high-titled brother, Nahnawa, and the installment of the Wasai as the new paramount chief.

In 1890, Madolenihmw again became a battleground when the Spanish colonials attempted to build a Catholic mission next to the already existing Protestant church. Fighting ranged from Ohwa to Kitamw and cost the Spaniards a great deal more than they gained.

Madolenihmw today is a relaxed, simple place and reminds one (to quote a famous author) of a time “long ago in the quiet of the world, when there was less noise and more green . . .” It is a place that one can’t help but love.

Madolenihmw Eco-Adventure Guide

This 18 x 20 inch (45.72 x 50.8 cm) full-color double-sided field guide folds down to 9 x 4 inches (22.86 x 10 cm) and covers the areas between the Lukop and Sapwehrek districts in Madolenihmw. It contains:

Central Madolenihmw Eco-Adventure Guide Central Madolenihmw Eco-Adventure Guide

Central Madolenihmw Attractions

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Pahn Sile Waterfall

Pahn Sile Waterfall Located on the pristine Senipehn River, Pahn Sile is one of the few waterfalls well into the interior that almost anyone (even small children) can reach without the help of a guide -- as long as you keep ...
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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Pohnpaip Petroglyphs

Pohnpaip Petroglyphs Just south of the newly renovated Sapwalap Elementary School lies one of Micronesia’s most unusual sites. More than 700 prehistoric motifs are inscribed on rocks in the area, the largest collection adorning a 60 by 25 meter naturally terraced ...
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Upper Pahnsapw Waterfall, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Pahnsapw & Nankep Waterfalls

Pahnsapw Waterfalls Pahnsapw, which means “beneath the land," refers to a pair of tall, majestic waterfalls which plummet off the edge of a high plateau in central Madolenihmw (it's also the name of the farmstead). Both waterfalls are found on the ...
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Dolen Merewi, Madolenihmw, Pohnpei, FSM

Dolen Merewi

Dolen Merewi Dolen Merewi is a flat-topped hill that stands apart from the interior mountains to the west and is highly conspicuous when driving through northeastern Madolenihmw. During the Spanish Period (1886-1898), the hill played a pivotal role in an armed ...
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Madolenihmw Bay Area

Madolenihmw Bay Area Dauen Sapwalap / Senipehn Mangrove Reserve Visit the Paddling Around Madolenihmw page for a detailed description of this location and the adventures to be had in the area. Entering the mangrove reserve requires a permit. Visit our MPA ...
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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Nankepinmerepw River Valley

Nankepinmerepw River Valley This route passes through the gorgeous valley of Nankepinmerepw, following the upper tributaries of the Nan Riohk Stream (Pilen Nan Riohk) and eventually arriving north of Nahnalaud on an arm of the major mountain system. One guide stated ...
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Fog envelopes the forest at the summit of Nahnalaud

Nahnalaud — the Big Mountain

Nahnalaud -- the Big Mountain The highest mountain in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is called Nahnalaud (which means "big mountain") and is located almost in the exact middle of Pohnpei Island. Pohnpeians consider the mountain sacred and regard it ...
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Dahu Reirei, a small man-made island and popular swimming and picnicking location, in central Madolenihmw, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Dau Reirei Island

Dahu Reirei Dahu Reirei (“long channel”) is a long, narrow, man-made islet constructed on a shallow reef with several huts for picnickers and campers and lots of pleasant swimming and snorkeling nearby. The tiny place can get uncomfortably crowded on weekends ...
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"Channel Island" -- a small nameless island located along a major reef channel south of Mesihsou, Madolenihmw, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

Lepin Dau Island

"Lepin Dau" ("Channel Island") This island is claimed by the same family as Dahu Reirei and has no true name, but as it lies adjacent to the primary channel every boat in the area uses to go from Areu and Ohwa ...
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Mwudokolos Island

Mwudokolos Island Mwudokolos is found a half-kilometer (0.33 mi) northeast of Metipw and easily accessed from the coral-dredged causeway/dock found there (ask at the nearest house for permission to launch if you're paddling out). The privately owned, but uninhabited, island has ...
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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Paddling Around Central Madolenihmw

Paddling Around Madolenihmw Dauen Sapwalap / Senipehn Mangrove Reserve Dauen Sapwalap is the largest drainage in Madolenihmw, a wide, meandering channel that cuts through the mangrove forests from Kitamw and eventually empties into Madolenihmw Bay. Although the Lehdau River (Pillapen Lehdau) is ...
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Pohnpei Diving – East Side Sites

East Side Dive Sites "Straight Wall" This dive is on the outer edge of the long, straight fringing reef east of Nahnningi (Joy) Island. It's a good place to see schools of tuna and barracuda hanging out beyond the wall. It's also ...
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(Central) Madolenihmw GPS Data

(Central) Madolenihmw GPS Data Downloads >> GPS Central >> Madolenihmw GPS Data ...
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Pohnpei Marine Protected Areas (MPA)

Marine Protected Areas (MPA), Sanctuaries, and Forest Reserves Pohnpei Island currently has eleven marine protected areas, including three mangrove forest reserves and two stingray sanctuaries. Two areas (around Palikir Pass and Penieu Island) have been proposed as future MPAs, but these ...
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Snorkeling Pohnpei’s East Side

Snorkeling Pohnpei's East Side Temwen Vicinity Pahn Nahkapw Wall The best snorkeling in the area is west of Nahkapw (island) along the edge of the reef, where a coral wall drops quickly off into Pahn Nahkapw's blue hole. Fish are abundant here and ...
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Fat-Tire Biking

The Best Type of Bike Pohnpei is a wild place. There are no paved bike paths or bike lanes on the roads. Off-road conditions are muddy, rocky, slippery, and very rough. Potholes are everywhere. For these reasons, mountain bikes are the ...
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Lehn Diadi swimming hole, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Swimming & Picnicking

When the heat gets to be too much, Madolenihmw offers plenty of places where you can take a dip and cool off. Aside from the many waterfalls (Pahn Sile, Pahnsapw, Nankep, and Nankepinmerepw) and islands (Mwudokolos, Dahu Reirei, Nahpali, Dekemwahu, Na, Nahkapw, Nahnningi, and Mall) in the general area, one of the best places to swim is at the Lehn Diadi bridge (the name is roughly translated “pool of the floating place”). There are deep pools for swimming on both sides and beneath the bridge and grassy areas on the cobbles along the bank for picnicking. Below the bridge, a portion of the old Circle Island Road still lies across the stream. Park on the side of the road near the bridge and find one of the footpaths leading down.


Kalangan to Miller Benjamin, Relio Lengsi, and Danny Rosenkrans for helping to check central Madolenihmw’s place names for accuracy; Peterson Anson of Pohnpei Transportation & Infrastructure for helping to create the beautiful shaded relief on our maps; Danko Taborosi of Island Research & Education Initiative (IREI) for his considerable support and technical assistance; and the Australian Government for funding the production of this guide.

Eco-Adventure Map Guides >> (Central) Madolenihmw